Hameau Albert 1er

Chamonix, French Alps, France Book from

Reviewed by Tom Bell
A famous hotel in central Chamonix with beautiful rooms, a very cool spa and 2 Michelin stars in its restaurant
Chamonix is one of the few big ski resorts that lives up to its hype. The town buzzes most of the year, Mont Blanc looms with wild beauty, and Hameau Albert 1er continues to develop new levels of luxury for mere mortals to enjoy. It is a remarkable hotel, built in 1903 to welcome the arrival of the railway, and it has remained in the same family ever since - Perrine and her father are the 5th generation to take the helm. At its heart is exceptional food (by Pierre, Perrine's husband), but add a fabulous spa and some breathtaking rooms and you have the full monty - a hotel that spoils you rotten at every turn.

It is a hotel that does nothing by halves. When Perrine and her father decided to build a spa, they bought 3 ancient mountain farmhouses, dismantled them, brought them to Chamonix and reassembled them in the garden. The bedrooms are now split between one of these, La Ferme (divinely traditional), and the main house (strikingly contemporary); most have terraces or balconies, several have woodburners, all have lovely bathrooms. For families and groups there are apartments and chalets (sleeping 2-6). As for Chamonix, you’ll find big skiing and excellent après-ski in winter, and mountain biking and hiking when the snow's melted. Don’t miss the Panoramique Mont Blanc cable car in summer, either; a magical 5km ‘flight’ across snowy mountain tops.


  • The skiing. Tremendously long runs, stunning views and challenging off-piste. There's a free shuttle service to and from the slopes and staff can arrange lift passes
  • The spa with its indoor/outdoor heated pool in the shadow of Mont Blanc
  • The Restaurant Albert 1er: Michelin stars may be expensive, but they sure taste good. There's also a bistro restaurant for more relaxed fare
  • The romantic rooms in La Ferme - cool mountain chic like never before
  • The middle of town is a 5-minute stroll away, with buzzing bars and clubs


  • The hotel's main building, Albert 1er, will be closed from mid-September until mid-December 2016 for construction work (includes the building's hotel rooms, Restaurant Albert 1er, QuartzBar and fitness room)
  • A buffet breakfast with cold bacon and eggs is not what you expect of a hotel with 2 Michelin stars. It's not included in the rates and it's pricey
  • As are the bigger rooms - the ones you really want to be in
  • Deposit and cancellation policies vary according to the hotel's occupancy; you'll get full details when you enquire
  • Chamonix’s slopes suit expert skiers better than average ones and queues at lifts are common
  • No air con in the La Ferme rooms - not ideal in summer

Best time to go

The best months for skiing are December-early April. Chamonix is then at its quietest from mid-April to the end of May, and from mid-October to the end of November. Lots of restaurants close in these months, as do some of the ski lifts and cable cars. Chamonix gets exceptionally busy again in the summer months. June and September can be good times to visit if you want a summer holiday - lower hotel prices, fewer people, less hassle. The hotel closes anually from mid-November until early December, and from mid-May to the end of May.

Our top tips

There’s a shortcut into Chamonix - the gate at the side of the main house. It’ll save time and avoid the busier roads. It’s secure and you buzz to get in and out, then 2 minutes later you’re in the heart of town. The more obvious route - up the drive to the main road - takes an extra 5 minutes.

Whatever activity you're doing, if you're heading into the mountains it’s worth taking some sort of first aid kit with you just in case. Also take a little food, as well as lots of water.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 32 + 3 apartments and 2 chalets (for 2-6
  • Restaurants and bar (at least one is open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 6 Nov 2016 - 9 Dec 2016
  • Pools
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Climbing wall


Rooms in the main house are contemporary in style. You’ll find cowhide rugs on wooden floors, enormous beds smartly attired, perhaps a sofa in front of a woodburner or a balcony facing Mont Blanc in the bigger rooms. All have cute orange armchairs that swivel with grace, and several have white leather headboards. Stone bathrooms are exceptional - double sinks, separate showers, robes and slippers, fancy oils. Book a Luxury room and you'll get a Jacuzzi tub, too. Despite the modern style, there's always an antique in the room, usually a lovely piece of old wood, perhaps a chest or a cabinet. And although the spa is over at La Ferme, the sauna is in the main house, as is the main restaurant.

Big sprawling rooms in La Ferme have a luxurious mountain-lodge feel: wooden walls and ceilings, sofas and armchairs scattered about, massive beds wrapped in crisp white linen. All have Mont Blanc views from balconies or terraces, some with sunbeds outside to catch the mountain light, others with woodburners inside for cosy winter evenings. Bathrooms are beautiful, too - not quite as contemporary as in the main house, but lovely nonetheless, with double-ended Jacuzzi baths and separate power showers. If that’s not enough for you, there’s are 2 enormous apartments over 2 floors with a sunken Jacuzzi bath in the master bedroom, a white leather sofa in the sitting room, a couple of balconies facing Mont Blanc and 2 further bedrooms (a double and a double/twin). There's also a smaller 2-bedroom apartment ideal for families of 4.

There are also 2 stylish chalets with logs piled high in their porches. Soli sleeps 2-6 and has its own sauna, Grepon is smaller but perfect for small families (sleeping 2-4). See full details here. Both chalets have fine bathrooms with robes for adults and children alike. You also get sheepskin throws, blonde wood furniture and umbrellas at the door. Wonderful stuff.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Slippers
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


There are 2 restaurants at the hotel: Restaurant Albert 1er in the main house, which has 2 Michelin stars, and La Maison Carrier over in La Ferme, which serves bistro-style mountain food. Both serve breakfast from 7-11am (extra cost). It’s a help-yourself affair with plates of local charcuterie and cheese, delicious fruit salads and yoghurts, just-baked croissants and pains au chocolat, baguettes and homemade jams. Cooked dishes are available, but they are not cooked to order. Instead, you fish things out of heated trays - bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs. The trouble is they get cold, which rather defeats the point.

Lunch and dinner are of a different measure altogether.
Restaurant Albert 1er's wine cellar holds 19,000 bottles, which might explain why its wine-tasting lunches are so popular. Various menus are available, from a light lunch to a 9-course tasting menu in the evening. There’s an à la carte menu, too, where you might find risotto with white Alba truffle, half a lobster with grapefruit, roasted venison with Grand Veneur sauce, then a warm green Chartreuse soufflé with homemade Chartreuse ice cream. It’s amazing stuff, a great spot to splash out on special occasions.

La Maison Carrier serves tasty rustic food - perhaps a salad of autumnal vegetables with Beaufort cheese and beetroot chips, rack of lamb cooked over an open fire, and local plum fritters with milk ice cream. You eat in a beautiful room (a controlled explosion of wood) with a walk-in fireplace where you can lift your head and see the sky. During the ski season both restaurants are extremely popular with people staying in town, so booking ahead is essential.

If you fancy eating in town, there are lots of good restaurants to choose from. Atmosphere on Place Balmat is smart but informal, offers great Savoyard food and has a covered terrace that overlooks the river. You’ll get a good fondue at La Calèche. It’s full of character due to the rustic clutter that hangs from the ceilings, and is popular with skiers.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu


  • Le ski! There are several ski fields in Chamonix: Les Houches is great for families with safe pistes through the forest; Le Brévent is served by lifts from central Chamonix so is very popular, but the steep slopes can be tricky for intermediates. Les Grands Montets is further up the valley and while one of the black slopes is for expert skiers only, the Panda Club is the best ski school in the valley. Le Tour (Balme and Vallorcine) offers the best skiing for intermediates. It’s 8km north of town, but buses run all day and the slopes are less crowded than the others, so it’s worth the journey
  • Chamonix has a great reputation for après-ski, too. One of the best places to hang out is Elevation 1904 - it's well-priced, and where the locals drink
  • The incredible Aiguille du Midi cable car sweeps you up into the sky. If you do nothing else in Chamonix, do this. It passes over the Pelerin Glacier and in summer you’ll spot climbers ascending the north face of the mountain. The view from the top is one of the best in the Alps
  • While you’re up here, jump on the Panoramique Mont Blanc, a cable car that goes across a sea of snow and the odd glacier on its way to Helbronner (mid-June to mid-Sept only)
  • Mer de Glace is a 7km glacier at Montenvers, perfect for summer hikes. Afterwards, take the cute Montenvers train back to Chamonix
  • The Mont Blanc tramway takes 75 minutes to climb 1,800m, and the last stop is the starting point for mountaineers hoping to conquer the mountain
  • Summer in Chamonix is as busy as winter and it’s not just hikers and mountain bikers who come. Road cyclists, white-water rafters, mountaineers, rock climbers, trail runners and paragliders all love it here
  • Back at the hotel, sink into the indoor/outdoor heated pool or soothe tired limbs with a specialist massage or sauna

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Mountain climbing
  • Nightlife
  • Paragliding
  • Private guided tours
  • Rafting
  • Shopping / markets
  • Skiing
  • Trail running
  • Well being


Children are very welcome, though this is an elegant hotel with 2 Michelin stars in its restaurant, so not the natural habitat of families.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Classic and Luxury Rooms can fit a baby cot; Luxury Rooms with Fireplaces and Prestige Rooms can fit a baby cot or extra bed. The apartments and chalets are best suited to families: the apartments have 2-3 bedrooms (each including a twin room). Chalet Soli has a double room, a double/twin room and 2 single beds on a mezzanine level; Chalet Grepon has a double room and a bunk room with 2 single bunkbeds.


On request

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chairs in the restaurants

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

  • Kids' menu in La Maison Carrier

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Ski school

Families Should Know:

The pool is not supervised

Kid Friendly:

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